What is a Stabilized Gemstone?
Stabilized gemstones are exactly what they sounds like. Stones that have an additional product added to it for stabilization purposes. Few people realize how many stones are stabilized on a regular basis.
Some stones are stabilized because it would be impossible to cut or shape the stone otherwise. Some are done to prevent the stone from cracking during or after the stone is cut. Some are done to improve the appearance of the stone. Almost always however, it increases the value of the stone and is usually in your best interest to purchase stabilized gemstones.
From a healing or metaphysical aspect, stabilized gemstones not necessary. At the same time however, it really does not affect the purpose we seek to use the stone for. I think of it like make-up. It might make me look a little better, but it in no way changes who or what I am. So I suggest you not turn down a stone simply because it is a stabilized gemstone.
What are the most commonly stabilized gemstones?
Here is a list of some of the more common stabilized gemstones and the reason for going through the process.
- Amazonite: Is sometimes stabilized with a hardening agent to improve the appearance of the stone.
- Azurite: Hardens the stone, giving it additional strength and improves the appearance of the finished stone.
- Calcite: Increases both its durability and its look.
- Coral: The process strengthen the stone and improves its look. Often they also fuse multiple smaller pieces into larger once by compressing and adding heat to the process.
- Larimar: Because Larimar is a very soft stone, the stabilization process makes it better able to withstand being used in jewelry.
- Magnesite: Almost all magnesite is stabilized to strengthen it, then it is dyed to look like any one of numerous other stones.
- Opals: Some types of opals are stabilized to increase the strength of the stone so it can withstand being used in jewelry.
- Prehnite: Occasionally this stone is stabilized to make it look better.
- Shell: Almost all types of shell are stabilized to increase its strength enough to be used in jewelry.
- Turquoise: Not all turquoise is stabilized but it is done fairly often to provide a stone more apt to withstand the rigors of jewelry use.
- Variscite: Greatly increases the durability rating of the stone.
How are gemstones stabilized?
The process varies depending on the stone, but usually involves some type of oil, polymer, resin or plastic which is either painted onto the stone or the stone is basically soaked in the material. In some cases this is done under pressure to ensure the the material gets as deeply into cracks and crevices as possible.
Special Care for Stabilized Gemstones
Sadly, unless you know exactly how your stone was stabilized and get into deep details on every stone you own, it is hard to remember the exact specialize care each stone needs. If your stone is on the list above, it is usually best to consider is has been stabilized unless you know differently.
To be as safe as possible, keep your stone away from heat or steam and household chemicals. Do not put them in an ultrasonic cleaner. Quick, extreme temperature changes can cause your stone to crack or cause the material used to stabilize the stone to break loose from the stone. If it is 70 degrees inside your house and below freezing outside, you might want to leave your stabilized gemstones inside.